Poirier, Léon

   Director and producer. Born Louis Marie Léon Poirier, Léon Poirier was the nephew of impressionist painter Berthe Morisot. Poirier had early artistic ambitions himself, and he began his career in the theater, where he produced plays and managed theaters before opening his own theater, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in 1913. The Théâtre featured performances of the Ballets russes, among other things, but had to close for financial reasons. He was hired on at Gaumont in 1913 to direct films and write screenplays, and he remained there in that capacity until he enlisted in the army to serve in World War I. Films directed by Poirier from the period 1913 to 1919 include Le Nid (1914), Le Trèfle d'argent (1914), Le Jugement des pierres (1914), Monsieur Charlemagne (1914), Cadette (1914), Ces desmoiselles Perrotin (1914), L'Amour passé (1914), and L'Aventure de la petite duchesse (1914).
   In 1919, Poirier returned to Gaumont and replaced Louis Feuillade as head of production. Like Feuillade, he continued to direct, although he never matched Feuillade in terms of number of films made, diversity of films made, or significance of films made. He left Gaumont in the mid-1920s to pursue directing independently. Poirier's later films include Âmes d'orient (1918), Le Penseur (1920), Narayana (1920), L'Ombre déchirée (1921), Jocelyn (1922), Geneviève (1923), L'Affaire du courrier de Lyon (1923), La Brière (1924), Verdun, visions d'histoire (1924), Le Coffret de Jade (1929), Cain: aventure des mers exotique (1930), La Voie sans disques (1933), L'Appel du silence (1936), Soeur d'armes (1937), Brazza, ou l'épopée du Congo (1940), Jeannou (1943), and La Route inconnue (1949).
   For the most part, Poirier had a unique style of directing that has been seen as symbolist or impressionist. His work included literary adaptations, such as Jocelyn (1922) and L'Affaire du courrier de Lyon (1923), and these films might be seen as a continuation of the film d'art tradition. His war film Verdun, visions d'histoire is also highly impressionistic. Some of his work also had nationalist tendencies. L'Appel du silence, a biopic about Charles de Foucauld, and Brazza, ou l'épopée du Congo are orientalist films that portray Africa through a highly exotic gaze and that glorify conquest and empire. Jeannou, his very controversial film, is overtly Pétainist.
   Probably Poirier's most significant Africa film was not a narrative film but a documentary. La Croisière noire (1926) documented a continental North-South car rally, undertaken to bolster public support for France's colonial enterprise. Poirier rode with the Citroën team during the rally and "captured" Africa along the way. The film is also highly orientalist and seemingly propagandistic. It was an enormous success, and the images of Africans in it influenced fashion and home décor for years afterward. From that point of view, also, the film was a success in that it accomplished the mission it had been given.
   Poirier retired from the cinema in 1949, after making La Route inconnue (1949), a semimystical film about the three major religions. The film was not a success and probably prompted Poirier's retirement. Critical opinion of Poirier's work since his retirement has been mixed. There are some who see him as a great and innovative film-maker and who put aside the political criticisms of his work as either misguided or irrelevant. Others, however, do not see great artistic merit to Poirier's films and find the content and point of view to be sufficiently problematic to override any artistic merit that might be argued. Time will tell where Poirier ultimately falls in the canon of French cinema.

Historical Dictionary of French Cinema. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Poirier, Léon — (1884 1968)    Director and producer. Born Louis Marie Léon Poirier, Léon Poirier was the nephew of impressionist painter Berthe Morisot. Poirier had early artistic ambitions himself, and he began his career in the theater, where he produced… …   Guide to cinema

  • Poirier, Léon — (August 25, 1884, Paris, France June 27, 1968, Urval, Dordogne, France)    A cousin of impressionist painter Berthe Morisot, he was an art objects seller before becoming gen­eral secretary of the Théâtre du Gymnase and then administrator of the… …   Encyclopedia of French film directors

  • Léon Arvel — Données clés Naissance 29 avril 1873 Paris, France Nationalité Française Décès 26 juin 1956 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Léon Poirier — Léon Poirier, Louis, Marie, Léon, Alfred Poirier pour l état civil, est un réalisateur français né le 25 août 1884 à Paris, mort le 27 juin 1968 à Urval (Dordogne) Sommaire 1 Biographie 2 Filmographie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Léon Laisne — ist eine ehemalige französische Automarke. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Unternehmensgeschichte 2 Fahrzeuge 2.1 Léon Laisne 2.2 Harris Léon Laisne …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Leon Rostan — Léon Rostan Léon Louis Rostan, né le 17 mars 1790 à Saint Maximin, décédé en 1866, était un médecin français. Il débuta ses études de médecine à Marseille et les termina à Paris avec une thèse consacrée au charlatanisme. Disciple de Pinel, il fut …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Léon Poirier — infobox actor name = Léon Poirier caption = birthname = birthdate = August 25 1884 birthplace = Paris FRA deathdate = June 27 1968 deathplace = Urval, Dordogne, France occupation = Film director, screenwriter yearsactive = 1913 1949 Léon Poirier… …   Wikipedia

  • poirier — (poi rié ; l r ne se lie pas ; au pluriel, l s se lie : des poi rié z en fleur) s. m. 1°   Arbre de la famille des rosacées, qui porte des poires, pirus communis, L.    Je l ai vu poirier, se dit d un parvenu que l on a connu dans une situation… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Léon Rostan — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Rostan. Léon Rostan (1790 1866) est un médecin français, professeur à la Faculté de médecine de Paris, membre de l Académie de médecine ; il fut l un des prédécesseurs de Charcot et de Vulpian à la… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Établissements Poirier — Poirier Poirier von 1953 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.